AOPA has vowed to block any attempts to close Kent State University Airport ( 1G3) in northeast Ohio. Recent press reports say university officials are talking with the federal government about closing the 4,000-foot runway and redeveloping the 300-acre airport property.
AOPA put university officials on notice with an August 23 letter.
"AOPA is committed to defeat any attempts to close Kent State University Airport," said Anne Esposito, AOPA vice president of airports. She reminded university officials that they had accepted federal grant money to rehabilitate the apron, taxiway, and runway.
"Accepting these funds also means accepting certain obligations to the federal government, including an obligation to operate the airport for the next 20 years," said Esposito. "These agreements are contracts with the federal government that must be honored. Simply paying the funds back is not an option."
The Kent State flight program has some 300 students and is the largest in Ohio. And while the university is considering moving its flight program to Portage County Airport, AOPA noted that there have been no public meetings to explore the impact of that change.
"The other airports in the area would not be able to accommodate the 50 aircraft currently based at Kent State," said Esposito. "The airports would be severely impacted by an extra 72,000 operations per year should Kent State University Airport close.
"Our nation's airports are a valuable resource," AOPA told university officials. "The taxpayers have invested too much into developing our country's air transportation system to allow Kent State University Airport to close."